Chainsaw Massacres (and Other Crimes): They’re Not Just for Texas Anymore

When properly used, the chainsaw is an effective and even beloved power-tool among lumberjacks, carpenters, and construction workers. In addition, when it comes to instantly colorful choices of weaponry, the chainsaw is hard to top in terms of instant terror.

Consider the chainsaw’s aesthetic power alone: the ripcord start-up, the bone-rattling buzz, the smoking exhaust fumes, the deafening squeal of the blade against a target and, of course, the horror movie imagery of multiple sagas about Leatherface and his Lone Star State cannibal brethren.

Those elements have come to imbue the chainsaw with almost mythical powers of chaos and carnage. As a result, real-life misapplications of such devices tend to slice right through crime stories centered on more mundane instruments of illegality. Here’s a round-up of some real Black-and-Decker-caliber doozies.

One Murder, One Suicide, One Chainsaw

In Lower Moreland, Pennsylvania, Christopher Peppleman, 48, killed himself and his wife, Nicole Peppleman, 43, with a chainsaw, driving the blade first into her abdomen and then his own. In addition, Christopher had choked Nicole and stabbed her in the neck. The couple had separated; Christopher moved out and Nicole occupied the family home where she lived with their three children. The couple’s 14-year-old son discovered the gruesome scene at that residence. [WPVI]

Quebec Man Threatens Mom and Kids in Car With Chainsaw

A road rage incident took a terrifying turn when a male motorist blocked a mother driving her children, exited his vehicle, and threatened the family by waving a chainsaw through their open minivan window, while snarling, in French, “You like that, huh?” Karine Cyr, the mother in question, took video of the incident with her phone, posted it on Facebook, and police tracked down the 37-year-old power-tool wielder. [CBC]

The Great Mother-Son Interstate Chainsaw Heist

Gaci Juric, Ali Ivanov, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office

Gaci Juric, Ali Ivanov, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office

Illegally enterprising mom Gaci Juric, 57, and son Ali Ivanov, 35, buzzed open a less-than-perfect criminal plot when the pair stole approximately $10,000 worth of chainsaws from stores all over Michigan and then attempted to see sell them on Craigslist in Chicago. Surveillance video at one business captured Juric swiping one chainsaw by slipping it up under her floor length skirt. Illinois and Michigan investigators followed the pair’s doings for a year before finally busting the family business for racketeering and retail fraud..
[NBC Chicago]

Portland-Area Chainsaw-Puller Plunders Plaid Pantry

Jonathan Lee Lathrop, Multnomah County Jail

Jonathan Lee Lathrop, Multnomah County Jail

Multnomah County officers arrested Jonathan Lee Lathrop, 34, for robbing a Plaid Pantry convenience store in the Oregon town of Woodstock. At virtually the same moment Lathrop was holding up the store, Portland fire crews responded to a call regarding a vehicle fire at the address directly next door to the Plaid Pantry. Police picked up Lathrop quickly, whereupon he told them he has “anger management issues.”

How to Win a Knife-Fight: Bring a Chainsaw

A street brawl in Big Sandy, Michigan escalated first into combatants brandishing knives, followed by one man revving up and busting out a chainsaw duel. The skirmish occurred when a sedan rolled into town off a nearby highway, followed by a speeding pickup truck. Occupants of both vehicles spilled into the street, punches flew, and knives were brandished until one brawler took a chainsaw from the truck and began swinging it at his opponents. Residents ran out in the street to catch the action, which quickly broke up once the chainsaw came out. The fighters fled, leaving behind one man who took a non-serious knife wound to the gut. [Great Falls Tribune]

Couple Hacks Up Donated Corpses, Rents Body Parts to Med Students

Arthur and Elizabeth Rathburn of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan were arrested as “body brokers” in February 2016 due to their unsavory and unsanitary practices with 1,000 individual donated dead bodies via their company International Biological Inc.

While Elizabeth Rathburn focused on fraudulently running the business, Arthur Rathburn reportedly dissected the cadavers, none of which had been embalmed, using chainsaws rather than sterilized equipment. The company then illegally stored the remains on ice in a warehouse.

International Biological rented the body parts out to medical schools, after the deceased’s family members had been promised the bodies would be used only for research and not for profit.

In addition, the Rathburns were accused of failing to inform clients that the some of the legs, heads, and necks they rented came from corpses that had been infected with diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B.

Earlier in 2016, Elizabeth Rathburn pled guilty to wire fraud and received four to ten months in jail, plus a $52,500 fine. Arthur Rathburn is presently in prison where he faces up to 20 years for multiple charges. [WXYZ]

Main image: Wikimedia Commons



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